Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Daily Headlines: October 21, 2014

* U.S.: Iconic Dominican-born fashion designer Oscar de la Renta died at the age of 82 reportedly due to cancer.

* Panama: Panamanian Supreme Court judge Alejandro Moncada was arrested and charged with money laundering and illicit enrichment.

* Argentina: An Argentine human rights group claimed that refugee status was given to a gay Russian man violently targeted due to his sexual orientation.

* Bolivia: Bolivia’s top electoral tribunal ratified President Evo Morales' victory in the presidential polls and gave the green light for him to rule for a third straight term.

Video Source – Associated Press via YouTube

Online Sources – JURIST; Variety; Zee News; Reuters

Monday, October 20, 2014

Daily Headlines: October 20, 2014

* Nicaragua: At least 24 people are dead and more than 33,000 are homeless as a result of heavy rain and flooding in areas of Nicaragua.

* Brazil: President Dilma Rousseff has apparently reversed a downturn in recent polls and is currently in a statistical dead heat with challenger Aécio Neves ahead of Sunday’s Brazilian presidential runoff election.

* Mexico: The World Trade Organization criticized the U.S. for not complying with a 2012 ruling to change meat labeling rules that were deemed discriminatory against Mexico and Canada.

* Uruguay: Will former president and current ruling party candidate Tabaré Vázquez earn an outright win in the October 26th general election or be forced into a second round next month?

Video Source – teleSUR English (Video uploaded on October 11, 2014).

Online Sources – NTDTV; NBC News; The Latin Americanist; Reuters; Buenos Aires Herald

Friday, October 17, 2014

Daily Headlines: October 17, 2014

* Argentina: Officials in the city of Santa Fe started a three-month ban on all sales of guns and ammunition in order to curb a “surge in violent crime reflected in 117 homicides so far this year.”

* Caribbean: Jamaica, Haiti and at least two other Caribbean countries have instituted travel bans against visitors from three African countries most affected by an Ebola outbreak while Colombia has reportedly been the only state to donate to a U.N. fund to combat the disease.

* Brazil: Police in Brazil were said to have captured a self-confessed serial killer who claimed the lives of thirty-nine people over three years.

* Venezuela: Venezuela was elected to a two-year post on the U.N. Security Council after it ran unopposed for the single seat assigned to Latin America and the Caribbean.

Video Source – AFP via YouTube (Video uploaded in 2010).

Online Sources – BBC News; Colombia Reports; LAHT; Time; The Guardian

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Daily Headlines: October 16, 2014

* U.S.: Prolific Latina television and film actress Elizabeth Peña died at the age of 55 reportedly due to natural causes.

* Venezuela: Venezuela’s president alleged that a Colombian paramilitary group helped carry out the murder of ruling legislator Robert Serra and his companion Maria Herrera.

* Peru: According to the Peruvian government 1000 high-altitude lakes have appeared in the country since 1980 from glaciers melting due to climate change.

* Argentina: A Morgan Stanley report released this week concluded that Argentina “could become the next big thing in shale oil.”

Video Source – YouTube user GeniusInMotionInc (Recently deceased actress Elizabeth Peña participated in numerous movies and TV series including “La Bamba,” “Jacob’s Ladder,” “Modern Family” and “American Dad”.)

Online Sources – The Huffington Post; Reuters; ABC News; Business Insider

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Daily Headlines: October 15, 2014

* Latin America: Twenty-five Latin American and Caribbean countries signed an agreement pledging to abolish child labor throughout the region.

* Brazil: Are Brazilian presidential polls like the recent one that put challenger Aécio Neves ahead of incumbent Dilma Rousseff “inaccurate and misleading”?

* Colombia: Proceedings began this week in a British court where more than one hundred Colombian farmers are suing BP over alleged environmental damages.

* Mexico: A new survey in Mexico found that over half of respondents cut down on the consumption of sugary beverages after a new tax on soft drinks went into effect.

Video Source – International Labour Organization via YouTube (Video from 2005).

Online Sources – The Guardian; LAHT; Xinhua; BBC News; The Latin Americanist

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Daily Headlines: October 14, 2014

* South America: An Italian judge ruled that twenty-one officials from former military dictatorships in four South American countries should be put on trial for their alleged role in Operation Condor.

* Bolivia: Newly reelected President Evo Morales promised to not enact anymore major nationalizations and claimed that he will pursue “realistic, practical” economic policies.

* Venezuela: The U.N. Human Rights Council called on Venezuelan authorities to “immediately release” imprisoned opposition politician Leopoldo López.

* Mexico: Two gunmen murdered a Sonoran activist and radio show host while he was presenting his program live on the air.

Video Source – YouTube user JourneymanVOD

Online Sources – spyghana.com; Reuters; MercoPress; The Guardian

Monday, October 13, 2014

Poll: Brazil Opposition Rival Ahead of Rousseff

With less than two weeks to go to the Brazilian president runoff, legislator Aécio Neves appears to be increasingly likely that he will upset incumbent Dilma Rousseff.

Neves leads Rousseff 52.4% to 36.7% according to a Sensus poll of 2000 people that was released today.  The double-digit advantage marks the first time Neves has been ahead in the polls since the October 4th first round of elections that Rousseff won but did not receive a majority that would’ve given her an outright victory. (A pair of surveys released last Thursday showed that he and Rousseff where in a statistical dead heat).

Six weeks ago, polls indicated that Neves would obtain a distant third place finish in the first round yet the former governor has enjoyed a recent surge in the polls.  His representation as a candidate of one of Brazil’s most powerful opposition parties (PDSB) along with his campaign promises to combat corruption and improve the economy appear to resonate heavily with potential voters.

The Sensus poll was conducted last week prior to his endorsement from Marina Silva, the former environment minister who finished in third in the first round.  Silva’s support could provide Neves with an even greater boost in the run-up to the runoff on the 26th of the month.

“From now on, we are one body, one project in favor of Brazil and the Brazilians,” declared Neves yesterday following the endorsement from Silva.

“I trust in the sincerity of the proposals of the candidate and his party, and I give to the Brazilian society the task to see that they are fulfilled,” said Silva whose economic campaign proposals were similar to Neves though both disagreed on gay marriage and marijuana legalization.

Daily Headlines: October 13, 2014

* Bolivia: According to exit polls and a quick count Bolivian president Evo Morales won reelection to a third straight term in office with roughly 60% of voters backing him.

* Mexico: The governor of Guerrero claimed that the remains found in recently unearthed graves do not belong to forty-three students missing since September 26th.

* Venezuela: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro reportedly called for an emergency meeting of O.P.E.C. as the prices of crude oil have hit a four-year low.

* Puerto Rico: Tropical Storm Gonzalo could reach hurricane strength by the time it is expected to hit Puerto Rico tomorrow morning and dump as much as a foot of rain on the island.

Video Source – euronews via YouTube

Online Sources – Voice of America; LAHT; The Weather Channel; Bloomberg; The Latin Amercanist

Friday, October 10, 2014

Daily Headlines: October 10, 2014

* Mexico: Federal authorities captured suspected Juarez drug cartel chief Vicente Carrillo Fuentes days after the detention of Hector Beltran Leyva, boss of the Beltran Leyva Cartel. 

* Bolivia: Polls indicated that Bolivian president Evo Morales is expected to easily triumph in Sunday’s general election and will be reelected to a third straight term in office.

* Venezuela: A World Bank arbitration board ruled that the Venezuelan government must pay ExxonMobil around $1.6 billion in compensation for a 2007 nationalization.

* Ecuador: Did the European Union “bully” Ecuador in order to sign on to a free trade agreement?

Video Source  – Noticieros Televisa via YouTube (Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, seen here after he was arrested on Thursday, was one of Mexico's most wanted criminals and he faced a number of charges in the U.S. including drug trafficking and money laundering).

Online Sources – CNN; The Latin Americanist; LAHT; Voice of America; teleSUR English

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Marchers Rally for Missing Mexican Students

A series of marches are taking place today in several cities to repudiate the disappearance of forty-three students in Mexico’s Guerrero state.

With the theme of “Por Ayotzinapa, tod@s a la calle” (“Everyone take to the streets for Ayotzinapa”) a coalition of civil organizations behind the rallies urged protesters to carry candles and dress in black as signs of solidarity with the recent victims  of violence in Guerrero.

An estimated 20,000 marchers have shut down one of the main highways in Guerrero as they make their way to the governor’s residence in the state capital city of Chilpancingo.  The protesters include students from the region, professors and family members of the forty-three students from a teacher training college that have been missing since the evening of September 26th. 

Scores of marchers are gathering near Mexico City’s iconic Angel of Independence monument as part of their peaceful protest today.

Other rallies took place around the world including Barcelona where some 100 people demonstrated while wore masks of the disappeared students and held signs calling for an end to perceived impunity in the investigation.  Demonstrates in Los Angeles presented a letter to the Mexican consul in that city urging officials to punish those responsible for the killings in Guerrero two weeks ago.

On September 26th, armed men from the town of Iguala fired upon some 120 students while they were riding local buses back to their school in Ayotzinapa.  Local police chased those students who were able to escape the attack and are believed to have fired at them.

“They were hitting the students as they took them. People were also scared about being shot so they gave themselves up. They thought they would just be arrested. But something else awaited them,” said Eusebio, one of the survivors of the attack in Iguala.  

Eusebio claimed that police officers and men in plainclothes with rifles ambushed them while none of the students were armed. The next day, he alleged to have encountered the faceless corpse of one of the students who was allegedly detained by the attacking mob.

Daily Headlines: October 8, 2014

* Brazil: Aécio Neves' bid to win in the upcoming presidential runoff against current leader Dilma Rousseff received a boost from several allies of defeated candidate Marina Silva.

* El Salvador: A Spanish court ruled that Spain has the jurisdiction to investigate the 1989 Jesuit Massacre of eight people in El Salvador.

* Latin America: A new World Bank report concluded that economic growth for Latin America and the Caribbean this year will be less than initially estimated.  

* Mexico: Ten Mexican states were ranked as the worst places to live in among the thirty-four member nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Video Source – euronews via YouTube

Online Sources – JURIST; LAHT; World Bank; The Latin Americanist; BBC News

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Daily Headlines: October 7, 2014

* Ecuador: As many as 2500 “micro-traffickers” of drugs could be freed from prisons in Ecuador as part of a new crime law that took effect in August.

* Argentina: U.S. federal judge Thomas Griesa continues to put pressure on the Argentine government in its legal battle against paying millions of dollars to bondholders.

* Colombia: At least eleven residents of a Colombian indigenous village died due to a lighting strike yesterday.

* Haiti: Researchers examining a shipwreck near Cap-Haitien, Haiti concluded that it did not belong to the Santa Maria, one of the three vessels used by Christopher Columbus in his 1492 voyage to the Americas.

Video Source – The Washington Office on Latin America via YouTube

Online Sources – NBC News; CNN; MercoPress; The Latin Americanist; The Guardian

Monday, October 6, 2014

Daily Headlines: October 6, 2014

* Mexico: Investigators in southern Mexico are examining a mass grave that could contain the remains of some of the forty-three student protesters missing since police reportedly attacked them last month.

* Brazil: Defeated presidential candidate Marina Silva said that she will not publicly back Dilma Rousseff or Aécio Neves in an upcoming runoff to decide Brazil’s next president.

* U.S.: Will President Barack Obama’s pledge last week to push for immigration reform attract potential Latino voters to next month’s midterm elections?

* Cuba: “I’m happy I made it alive, but it was something no one should have to go through,” said one of the fifteen Cuban migrants who survived for three weeks without food or water while adrift in the Caribbean.

Video Source – euronews via YouTube

Online Sources – NBC News; Xinhua; The Latin Americanist; The Guardian; CNN

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Dilma, Marina or Aécio? (UPDATE: Neither...For Now)

About 142 million registered voters in Brazil head to the voting booths on Sunday in order to decide who could be the South American country’s next president.

Recent polls have shown that incumbent leader Dilma Rousseff is the odds-on favorite to win today’s election though she might not obtain the majority of voted to prevent a runoff on October 26th against the runner-up of today’s election. 

“We took Brazil off the U.N.’s hunger map and helped thirteen million Brazilians attend university,” tweeted Rousseff regarding public social programs under her rule. She also referred to her predecessor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, for their efforts to push through a “peaceful social revolution” during the past twelve years.

Of the ten other presidential candidates on the ballot, former environment minister Marina Silva appeared to be Rousseff’s strongest rival.  Silva, who took over for Eduardo Campos when he died in a plane crash nearly two months ago, has positioned herself as an alternative to Brazil’s traditional politics by appealing to disenchanted youth while also promoting pro-business and socially conservative policies. 

“She’s not a messiah… she’s a human with flaws like everyone else. But she’s a person of integrity and ethics and we need that desperately,” said Camargo Cesar, the author of a biography on Silva.

A series of negative ads from the Rousseff campaign and accusations of flip-flopping have apparently affected support for Silva.  According to two polls released on Saturday, Silva is in a statistical tie for second place with senator Aécio Neves.  Neves enjoyed a recent surge in the polls as he has hammered away at several corruption scandals including alleged bribery by execs at state-run oil giant Petrobras.

“He is the most capable and knowledgeable of the three candidates – the safest pair of hands.  Dilma is just an agitator and Marina is too unreliable,” noted one Rio de Janeiro resident.


Friday, October 3, 2014

Daily Headlines: October 3, 2014

* Latin America: 63 doctors and 102 nurses from Cuba reportedly left for Sierra Leone to help combat the African country’s Ebola outbreak while Salvadoran authorities placed under quarantine two nuns suspected of being infected with Ebola.

* Brazil: The head of the International Olympic Committee’s inspection team claimed that plans for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro are “on track” though “the schedule was tight.”

* Venezuela: Was ruling party legislator Robert Serra and his partner killed days ago as part of a planned assassination?

* Argentina: A Spanish judge ruled that Argentine soccer superstar Lionel Messi must stand trial for allegedly evading more than four million euros in taxes.

Video Source – Voice of America via YouTube

Online Sources – Fox News Latino; Tico Times; BBC News; The Independent; Businessweek

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Daily Headlines: October 2, 2014

* Haiti: Police in Port-au-Prince fired tear gas and water cannons at some of the thousands of demonstrators commemorating the 23rd anniversary of the military coup against then-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

* Venezuela: Authorities vowed to thoroughly investigate the murder of Robert Serra, a ruling party legislator who was one of Venezuela’s youngest congressmen, and his partner on Wednesday night.

* Peru: A Spanish researcher was hospitalized after he was rescued from a cave in Peru where he was trapped more than 1200 feet underground for twelve days.
* Latin America: Organization of American States Secretary-General Jose Miguel Insulza urged Latin American countries to take in detainees from the U.S.-run Guantanamo military prison.

Video Source – YouTube user No Comment TV

Online Sources – Al Jazeera; Reuters; Mercopress; euronews